5/2/11. Maria Whyte. Interview with Maria Whyte, Erie County Legislator for the 6th District (west side of Buffalo), currently the Democratic Majority leader in the County Legislature. She is a plaintiff in the CACGEC lawsuit, which seek to close the gambling casino in downtown Buffalo.
Legislator Whyte explains her opposition to the casino as a social justice issue. She points out that the Buffalo casino is a âlocals-basedâ casino. It does not attract out-of-town tourists or bring in money from outside the region (as does Las Vegas). On the contrary, it draws players and revenue from the local community. And it gives little back. It provides competition for local tax-paying businesses. Because a casino can only be established on sovereign territory, it pays no taxes and is subject to no state regulation. Unlike Las Vegas, where hotel and casino workers are unionized and can be assured of a decent living, workers at the Buffalo Creek Casino have no guarantees regarding wages or working conditions. And much of the casino revenue goes outside the region, rather than back into the local economy.
In general, Legislator Whyte is concerned that any new development in the regionâas in the Canalside/Harbor Front areaâbenefit the local community, local businesses, workers, citizens. We talked also about the planned redistricting which will reduce the County Legislature from 15 to 11, and her concern that the residents of the county understand how this will affect them.